independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Olympic sprinter for men's health seminar

Ireland’s top sprinter, Paul Hession.

Irish Olympic sprinter Paul Hession will address a men's health gathering in Sligo next week.

Irish Olympic sprinter Paul Hession will address a men's health gathering in Sligo next week.

Hession is currently in his final year of studying medicine with practical experience ongoing at Sligo Regional Hospital.

The Athenry native isn't competing this year, concentrating instead on his studies.

He will be working at the Sligo hospital until Christmas.

It's been a long road to qualify as a doctor but he's getting there.

"I started studying back in 2000 but I've been in and out of it.

"After the London Olympics I went back to medical school and I've just a year to go," he says.

Hession (30) has been Ireland's top sprinter for the past ten years.

Very fine margins can mean success or failure.

He was disappointed with his performance at the London Olympics failing to get out of his 200m heat, finishing fifth in 20.69.

Hession had reason to be optimistic having just missed out on the final by one place at the Bejing Olympics.

Paul has been a regular semi-finalist at major events.

"I didn't do amazingly well in London.

"I had a few injuries.

"It's a sport that can be so unforgiving.

"It's difficult to break into it and to stay at it when you do make your mark.

"It's always a challenge to try to stay at the top of your sport.

"Once you run a certain time you are always trying to run better.

"At times it can be an unforgiving sport.

"London was a great experience though.

"They really did a great job.

"The fans and the athletes enjoyed it equally."

He declined the Government backed Athletics Ireland sports grant this year.

His sabbatical from running has raised question marks over his future, especially as he's missing this year's World Championships in Moscow.

However, Paul is non committal about his future.

"I don't know what next year will bring."

The European Championships will be held in 2014 and another Olympics in 2016 but he hasn't really thought about it yet.

"Sometimes life can get in the way.

"It's a huge commitment to train for an Olympics.

"For four years it's like signing your life away."

Paul is still running though and Sligo people might get a glimpse of an Olympian out running some evenings.

"I'm doing bits and pieces, nothing specific, just keeping fit."

Paul will speak on "My Journey – How Lifestyle Changes Helped Me Become A Better Athlete' on Thursday, June 12th at the Canis Major, Clarion Hotel.

It's part of the Men's Health Event 2013 hosted by the Research and Education Foundation, Sligo General Hospital.

Other speakers will include: Michael Rainsford who will address the audience on "Looking after ourselves in stressful times."

Dr. Cathy McHugh will speak about 'Supplements and Drugs for Health and Sport.'

'Sports injuries in Men - Prevention is better than cure' will be the topic addressed by Dr. Bryan Whelan.

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